Given the hate-spewing era that we are living in, Mumbai’s Farzeen Chaudhary is setting an example of love, peace, and motherhood
MUMBAI — Who said that having four kids, managing two schools in different cities was more than a woman can handle? Meet Mrs. Farzeen Chaudhary, 34, from Mumbai who thought that 4 kids and two schools weren’t enough things to do in a lifetime that she went ahead to foster a baby.
“I’ve always wanted to adopt, even before I became a mother of four. Little did I know that those with 3 or more kids cannot adopt as per the Indian Law”, said Farzeen. Then one random day she said she received a message looking for a foster family for a new born baby. Fostering is a relatively new concept in India. A child who has been given up for adoption takes anywhere from 2-6 months to move into his/her permanent adoptive home. So when a child is being fostered by a family he/she lives with the family temporarily and then goes away. Some NGO’s like The Family Service Centre based in Colaba, Mumbai, believes in fostering. Where instead of keeping the baby in an orphanage during this waiting period they keep babies under their care with foster families.
Coming back to the story, Farzeen first discussed the idea with her husband who was equally excited to participate in this selfless act. It’s not everyday that such an opportunity comes your way, she said. They both immediately got in touch with the NGO that confirmed to the message. Mrs. Chaudhary said, “We were a little apprehensive that being a Muslim shouldn’t come in our way of fostering a baby who may belong to another faith. As a Muslim I am very clear that my religion not only allows but promotes helping one another, no matter whatever be the religion. You know in the Quran there is a verse that says, ‘You were made into nations and tribes so that you may know one another, not so that you may despise each. When my religion supports me then there is no botheration.”
The next big concern before them were their children. How would they tell their children who are only 12, 10, 7 and 2 years old that a baby will come home, stay with them and after some time leave and go away? Being a part-time trained counselor she was concerned her children would get attached to the baby and it could cause some emotional disturbances. After some discussion, they decided to openly talk to their children.
“We both sat our kids down and told them that there is one such baby who needs a temporary house. We put it up as a problem that we were still trying to solve. My older son Ali said that of course, we should keep him with us. I was so touched and reassured we were working in the right direction. We then discussed how in life there are some things that we need to do for others. Fostering this baby will mean that we are willing to do everything for him while keeping our needs and emotions aside. It’s not about us here but all about him. Being Muslims we discussed incidences from the Prophet’s (SAW) lifetime where he had acted selflessly only to benefit a total stranger”, she said philosophically.
Now that the ground was set there were only a few days before 7 days old little angel, baby Rahil came to their house. She said it was a day of celebration coupled with equal anxiety. With tears in her eyes, Farzeen went into a flashback saying, “I’ll never forget the first few days he spent with us. As a mother of four, I could tell that he was very anxious and could sense he had been moved away from his birth mother. He would constantly cry. I had moved into my living room with him so that others could sleep peacefully. Each time he cried I held him close to my heart and while looking in his eyes I would reassure him that I would not give up on him. That he was safe with me and no one could harm him. To my astonishment, he would immediately fall back to sleep. So many nights I’ve slept with him on my chest, close to my heart. To me, he is purely a gift sent by God to teach us some very difficult lessons in life.”
She continued, “Whenever I see Rahil in the day my blood boils. I want to ask for what fault of his was he abandoned? Two people decide to indulge in sexual behaviours without being committed to marriage and out comes a baby like Rahil only to be thrown away? A few moments of pleasure can cost an innocent baby displacement for an entire lifetime! To the youngsters reading this, please think about Rahil before you indulge in such acts. He deserves the loving security of his own birth parents”. She repeated herself in anguish over and over again. The anger and the disappointment was very apparent.
It’s already been seven months since Rahil has been with Farzeen and her family. She worked out his presence in the family very strategically and says that no one in the family is very attached to him. She said it was done keeping in mind that his leaving should not disturb anyone. “After all, I am just a foster parent, any day he would be given away to someone for adoption by the NGO. When Rahil has found us who are willing to keep him forever why does the law want to displace him one more time? That kid has had enough already. I still am hopeful of a miracle happening and Rahil staying back with us, but that isn’t stopping us from being mentally prepared that one day he might leave us to stay with another family,” said Farzeen with a sigh.
On being asked, if she would continue fostering such kids, she said, “Yes. If Rahil leaves us, we will foster another child. It has been a fulfilling experience for us as a family. We have learnt to love unconditionally and open our doors to total strangers.”